Raina MacIntyre, Professor, Head of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at UNSW, Australia explains why vaccinations for those over 65 makes good sense:
Note: This is a general article on the value of vaccinations for older members of our society. Immune compromised patients (which includes anyone with CLL), should not have live vaccinations, but there are still many that we can have to our advantage.
"If there are 100 cases of disease X in people aged 20 to 50 years, for example, and the vaccine is 90% effective, we could prevent 90 cases of disease. In contrast, if there are 1,000 cases of disease X in people aged over 65 years, but the vaccine is less effective in older adults – say 60% instead of 90% – we would be able to prevent 600 cases of disease.
In terms of population health benefit, then, it’s better to vaccinate older people who have a higher burden of disease but reduced ability to respond to vaccines, than to vaccinate younger people who have a lower burden of disease and better ability to respond to vaccines: 600 cases prevented versus 90.
Because of this lower efficacy, health-care providers often dismiss vaccination for older people as worthless. But compared with other preventive health measures – such as statins for prevention of heart attacks, which are approximately 25% effective – most vaccines for over-65s are far more effective."